The word motherhood has been used for centuries without thorough examination of what it encompasses. Literature exhibits the changing reality and needs of mothering irrespective of the outcome: imposed motherhood, and institutionalized mothers. Motherhood has been bifurcated in meaning as “the potential relationship of any woman to her powers of reproduction and to children; and the institution, which aims at ensuring that that potential-- and all women--shall remain under male control” (Rich 13). A woman’s biological capacity to bear and nurture a child has been a significant factor in the existence of human life. Another facet of this is the development of the child’s identity while growing up close to the mother. On the one hand, a son gives up or is given up by his mother at a certain age; daughters, on the contrary, have no reason to be given up, and thus the mother-daughter bond is cultivated to be permanent. The paper explores Well-Behaved Indian Women (2020), the debut novel of Saumya Dave, to discover this relationship in three generations of women. The authors examine how motherhood is practiced in the ways a woman is brought up under a certain set of beliefs by her mother, and how she transfers the same set of beliefs to her own daughter. This shift edges towards an inflicted identity that is not one’s own. The daughters and mothers in the novel suffer separation resulting from their conflicted identities and go on journeys of self-analysis to resolve these conflicts. We seek to examine their struggle by highlighting select concepts in motherhood studies.
Agarwal, Shivalika and Kumar, Nagendra
"Mothers Born or Produced?: An Analysis of the Mother-Daughter Relationship in Well-Behaved Indian Women,"
Journal of International Women's Studies: Vol. 25:
5, Article 7.
Available at: https://vc.bridgew.edu/jiws/vol25/iss5/7